Leap Second: Why Tuesday Will Be 1 Second Longer and Could Screw Up Your Computer

Extra second could potentially screw up your computers.

June 29, 2015, 3:07 PM
PHOTO: An extra second will be added to the last minute of June 30, 2015.
An extra second will be added to the last minute of June 30, 2015.
Getty Images

— -- If tomorrow feels longer than your normal Tuesday, you're not imagining it. A leap second will be added to the clock on the last day of June, creating the potential to wreak havoc on computer systems not equipped to handle the change.

The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems (IERS) said the extra second will be added to account for a discrepancy between Earth's rotation and the atomic clock.

"Earth's rotation is gradually slowing down a bit, so leap seconds are a way to account for that," Daniel MacMillan of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said in a statement.

The extra second will be added as the clock strikes midnight universal time, meaning the extra second will come for people in the United States at 8 p.m. EDT.

Leap seconds can be added in June or December, according to IERS. There have been 25 instances since 1972 of an extra second being added.

When the time comes, clocks synchronized to standard civil time will show the extra second as :60, however it's possible that programs not equipped to handle the extra second could have an issue.

Amazon Web Services said last month it plans to "implement alternative solutions to avoid the ':60' leap second. This means that AWS clocks will be slightly different from the standard civil time for a short period of time."

When the last leap second was added on June 30, 2012, it caused issues with a number of websites, including Qantas, LinkedIn and Yelp, according to reports at the time.